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PSCo. Tutorials: Turning Your Surfboard

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Welcome back to another PSCo tutorial, where we break down fundamental surf techniques so that you can progress your surfing from the comfort of your home.

In this episode, I will be breaking down the humble turn. This is a technique that you will want to start working on once you have gotten comfortable catching and riding a few waves in the whitewash zone at a beach break. Once you are comfortable riding in a straight line towards shore, and have gotten this down fairly consistently, you can start to play around by turning your surfboard.

(Photo: Lukene Sotomayor Navarro)

  • Make sure you’ve got enough speed.

Only start to turn your board when you feel like you have enough speed to work with. You will know that you are going fast enough because your board will be planing flat on top of the water, and you will feel the force of the wave pushing behind you.

If you feel yourself slowing down on the wave, don’t try and force a turn in. Instead, bend your knees, and slightly shift your weight more to your front foot, or try shifting your stance slightly further up the board. This will hopefully give you enough speed to work with, and allow the wave time to form up behind you again.

(Photo: Lukene Sotomayor Navarro)

  •  Stay low!

 This is one of the biggest pieces of advice that I give my students. We achieve a low stance by bending at the knees. Start by exaggerating this to get a feel for it, and bend all the way to just above 90 degrees.

Avoid having a parallel stance, make sure that your back knee is slightly tucked, and your weight is shifted over your front leg, initially, but then shift your weight onto the back foot as you start the turn.

Tip: If you are having trouble turning even from this position, make sure that your back foot is far back enough towards the tail of the board. 










(Photo: Lukene Sotomayor Navarro)

  • Lead with the upper body.

Okay, so you’ve got enough speed, and you’re nice and compressed. Your upper body should be open so that your left hand is over the left rail of the surfboard, and right hand over the right rail. This means that your head and shoulders will be facing out over the nose of the board. This is the neutral position from which you can initiate the turn in either direction. Slightly turn your head and look in the direction you want to turn. The shoulders will follow, creating a rotation in the upper body that will translate through the core. 

A fun drill I work on with my students is to get them to touch the water with the hand to initiate the turn. For example, if they want to turn right, i get them working on touching the water with their right hand.









(Photo: Cristina Gareau) 

  • Practice Frontside and Backside turns.

Frontside refers to the side of the body that is facing the wave, where backside is the side that back towards the wave. So, for goofy footers (right foot forward), going left is frontside, and right right is backside. For regular footers (left foot forward), vice versa.

Once you understand this, you want to practice going left and right in equal measure even though frontside often feels easier at first. Break the habit because you will have more fun and double the amount of waves you can ride.









(Photo: Cristina Gareau) 

  • Take what you’ve learnt in the whitewash, and apply it on the ‘green wave’

 The whitewash is a hugely underrated tool for learning in that we often try to progress out of it too quickly. Spend plenty of time getting all these techniques down pat in the white wash, then, check out our recent tutorial on riding the 'green wave' to get you up to speed on how to put yourself in the sweet spot on a peeling wave. Thanks for turning in!









(Photo: Cristina Gareau)

Blog written by Adam Tory

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